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My journey to freedom

I discovered world pulse while googling free online training and seminars for female journalists. I want to be the best journalist I can be and I felt I needed all the help I could get as the industry is a tough one, dominated by men in Nigeria and not friendly towards women.
The first thing I noticed when I started working as a journalist was the widespread sexual harrassment female journalists suffered.I had no degree in journalism, my fist degree was in town planning. All I had was a passion for the job, a flair for writing and an inquisitive mind.

My first five months on the job was terrible.I had no one to put me through.My male colleagues expected some sexual gratification before showing me the ropes and my bosses well, also expected sexual gratification before publising my stories.the same situation was no different on my beat, sources who were often men also expected sexual gratification. It was a struggle defying the established rules but I made it and that is how my quest for more knowledge led me to world pulse.

I am all for women empowerment and world pulse is a powerful to help women in my society speak out against sexual harrassment, something which the society has accepted. The worst hit are students in secondary schools and universities who are forced to trade sex for grades. It is so bad that if a student dares speak up, the student is forced out of the school. With world pulse, I can empower women in my society to reject being treated as sexual slaves and stand up for their rights.

Comments

Nezed's picture

Comfy! Sexual harrasment is

Comfy! Sexual harrasment is so prevalent in the Nigerian society that at times i work into offices and i cant help but thinking 'How many got in here through sex?" Its a crazy way of thinking probably, but i cant help but wonder.. whatever happened to Merit? Nice article... Keep writing ...and Telling it!

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

comfy's picture

thanks nezed

Hello Nezed,
Thanks for your encouragement. Am glad you made that observation. I am glad to know one more woman who doesn't approve of exchanging sex for promotion or any other 'favour.'

Thanks again!

Nezed's picture

Sure, its so obvious this is

Sure, its so obvious this is on the increase..

P.S: In my first reply, its meant to be : I walk into offices' Pardon my grammatical blunder.. Take care.

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Juliette Maughan's picture

Wow

Hi Comfort,

I am interested to know what tactics you use. In male dominated sector those sexual advances are a problem. I hate being in that position where someone in authority is trying to come onto you and your goal is to appear professional. YUCK.

Keep your head up.

comfy's picture

Hi juliette

Hello Juliette,
I had to smile at your comment. It is qquite simple really. First, I was friendly and extra courteous towards everyone in the newsroom. This was just to reduce the number of people my bosses would try to get on their side to justify their actions. Then I ensured I stood out in my reports. I am a crime reporter and since I wasn't willing to use sex as a leverage, I had to be willing to go the extra mile. Instead of having sex with highly placed sources which in my beat would be police officers, I started tipping the lowly ranked police officers and it paid off!
I learnt the tricks of investigation on my own since no one would tutor me. It was tough but because I was determined not to be rubbished, I stuck to my guns. Now even my bosses grudgingly respect me.I am also a christian and my belief in God was actually what gave me the staying power to perseve.

Juliette Maughan's picture

It's not easy is it

Strategy girl strategy.

sarahmol's picture

That is a shame that women

That is a shame that women are treated as sex objects in so many parts of the world. I just hope we as women manage to keep out heads held high and never doubt our self-worth. Stay strong and keep doing what you are doing!

-Sarah

comfy's picture

Hello Sarahmol,

Hello Sarahmol,
Thanks for the encouragement.Unfortunately, this trend has made nonsense of so many otherwise, capable, intelligent and resourceful women.My society needs a overhaul of its moral values.

Lombe's picture

Sexual Harrasment

Dear Comfy,

Glad that you are on World Pulse.

It is the action of speaking out that moves us one step closer to a safer world for women.

Comfy, I am very interested to hear about the challenge of harassment in your occupation as I am working on a program that is looking at that within the sphere of sport.

Kindly share with us any interventions in place that are working or not and some ideas you have for making things better.

Keep speaking up!

Lombe

Lombe Mwambwa
"I think a woman has two choices: either she's a feminist or a masochist." Gloria Steinem

comfy's picture

Hello Lombe, I am

Hello Lombe,
I am sorry to say that there are no current interventions in my place of work to stop this trend. Everyone expects you to step up including the older women as most of them rose up the ranks this way.

My ideas are not much but one thing is quite clear. When a man is sexually harrassing any woman be it in the home, school, church or place of work, it is usually obvious; men are very obvious about sex. The best the rest of us can do is not to support the man by asking him why he is always having problems with that particular female; make him feel ashamed. We should always show our disapproval and this is much easier when the man is on the same level with us age-wise or professionally. If one, two, three persons should constantly approach the aggressor and most importantly show sympathy for the victim, I don't think it takes a soothsayer to predict what would naturally follow. I will give an example.

I worked for about a year and six months before my appointment was confirmed at my current place of work. The reason for this delay wasnt because I was inefficient or lazy but because my editor refused to give his approval to my confirmation. He sent back the letter when it got to his desk, saying that he wasn't impressed with my work. The admin manager was a middle aged woman and it was clear that I was being treated unfairly but she said and did nothing. A year dragged to 13 months, 14, 15 , 16 months and my editor was getting embarrassed. He had thought I would try to placate him sexually but when I refused, he started threatening to slap me openly in the newsroom for every little mistake I made in my report! Do you think if there were any interventions in place, my editor would have gone to that length? Sadly, no woman could reproach him instead, they were all angry with me for in their own opinion 'being proud'.
It was the middle aged assistant male editors who kept encouraging me to work harder, excel at my job and be patient.

In a nutshell, the strongest intervention can only come from a woman. We should always support ourselves and not encourage the men either by our silence or in-actions to continue to oppress other women.

I hope you find this epistle useful. Thanks again for your encouragement Lombe. I look forward to more discussions.

Regards

Frances Faulkner's picture

!!!!

Comfy -
It is shocking to hear how common sexual harassment is for you- this is the worst form of abuse. I love that you seem to take it in stride that you WILL figure out ways to work around it and problem solve. You are a great role model for other women, slowly earning your power through trial and error and inner strength.

Thanks,
Frances

comfy's picture

Hello Frances, Thank

Hello Frances,
Thank you so much Frances for your encouragement and praise. I am glad and humbled to think that my challenges can inspire other women to resist every from subjugation and humiliation from society. Thanks again.

Regards

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